BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Monday, May 13, 1822

Bonn publisher Nikolaus Simrock, having reached an agreement to buy the Missa Solemnis long ago, writes today to Beethoven asking why nothing has been heard from him about it. Completely unaware that Beethoven has now sold the Mass for a higher price to Schlesinger in Berlin instead, Simrock points out that Beethoven represented that the work would be completely finished and in his hands by the end of April, 1821. Simrock has had 100 louis d’or on deposit waiting for the work since October 25, 1820. When Simrock inquired with Beethoven’s agent Franz Brentano at the Frankfurt Fall Fair and again at the Easter Fair this spring, still there was no sign of the score. He begs that Beethoven at least write him a few words about where it stands and when he can expect it.

In the meantime, Simrock notes that he has undertaken to publish Beethoven’s first six symphonies in score, a project that is long overdue. Such a publication had before been publicly advertised, but never got off the ground. Even if there is no profit in it, Simrock wants to dedicate the project as a monument “to my worthy old friend.” He promises copies of the first two symphonies will soon be on their way to Beethoven in Vienna. The Third Symphony will follow later this year. Simrock closes by regretting that Beethoven did not make it back to his old home town of Bonn in the summer of 1821 as he had suggested he might do.

Simrock addresses the letter to Beethoven in Vienna at the Fingerlin House on the Josephstadt (where he last lived in April of 1820). By the time the letter reaches Vienna and gets to the proper address, Beethoven has moved for the summer to Döbling. A postal official forwards it to him there. Beethoven, well aware that he has painted himself into an uncomfortable corner, does not respond to Simrock, at least directly.

Brandenburg Letter 1464, Albrecht Letters to Beethoven 285. The original is today held by the Vienna City and National Library, I.N. 54530.

Meanwhile, Artaria attempts to keep ahead of the pirating publishers of Vienna by announcing in today’s Wiener Zeitung that a complete vocal and piano reduction from the opera Zelmira is now available, with the exception of the finale. That will be published shortly. A complete piano solo version of the opera, arranged by Maximilian Joseph Leidesdorf (1787-1840), omitting the words, will also be available soon.

Silently competing with Czerny’s set of variations announced last Thursday, May 9, by Cappi and Diabelli, Artaria announces that Leidesdorf has also composed a set of very beautiful and brilliant variations on the popular cavatina, Sorte secondami, as sung by Herr Mozzari, which is already being engraved.

It’s a feeding frenzy in the musical advertisements section of the Wiener Zeitung.

Our next update will be May 16.